UCDSU Elections: Education Race Analysis

Adam Carroll is the sole candidate for the position of Undergraduate Education Officer and currently the only candidate in the two Education races, with no one putting themselves forward for the Graduate Education Officer position at all. While not strictly under the brief, should no one come forward for the latter role at all, it is likely that Carroll, should he defeat RON, will have to take on the duties of this office as well. This is something Carroll has clearly considered, naming easily the academic committees he would likely have to sit on for both positions, should he need to in the interim before an Officer can be elected.

Carroll’s main focus seems to centre on the library, restoring opening hours and services to those of the past. Many of his policies will see him lobbying for a seven-day library and more funds for books, and while it would appear that these have recently been achieved by the current sabbatical team, he maintains that he will push for further provisions from the University. Whether this was poor manifesto research and a knee-jerk response to a question which clearly flustered him, or a genuine feasible promise, will remain to be seen.

One thing Carroll has on his side is experience within the Students’ Union, something which, as he points out himself, this year’s Education Officer Shane Comer entered the role without. Describing Comer’s year as “slow”, Carroll believes that his experience as a Convenor for the School of Health Sciences has given him much needed experience in dealing with University staff, making him confident that if elected, he “would be able to hit the ground running.”

What isn’t clear, however, is where his passion lies. While other candidates are enthusiastic about their promises, ideas and the office they’re contesting, he falls a little flat. Leaving out a large area of responsibility of the new position from his manifesto, with regards to class reps and elections, shows complete disregard for the evolving role and perhaps an unwillingness to adapt in a Union which is still changing.

This combined with a decision not to submit a personal statement to students on why he would like to be next year’s Undergraduate Education Officer, unlike every other candidate, shows a great deal of complacency and a lack of real interest. Perhaps were the position contested, Carroll may have picked up his game and actually fought to get into office, but for the moment it appears that he sees RON as no competition.

Many of his policies seem more than a little ill-thought-out. While he has a number of interesting ideas, when questioned on the more complicated among them, rather than providing actual evidence of how his plans might work, he came back with many ‘It just would work’ style answers, which offers little solace to students questioning how feasible his manifesto actually is. Perhaps what will save him on that front however is having a concrete plan for a promise which students have heard time and time again around election time: the introduction of a 24-hour study area. His time in Health Sciences has served him well, and he plans to see the library in that building finally used for the 24-hour purpose it was built for. He also has the support of four of the previous Education Officers who he casually lists, so it is likely that they will be able to point him to a starting position for at least some of his vaguer plans.

While Carroll may not be treating it as such, running against RON is not as easy as the majority imagine, as you’re running against the ideal candidate, or every other possible candidate, for the position. Though Carroll appears fairly solid, if a little unimaginative, as a candidate, students may be put off by his nonchalant approach to his bid for office. Unless he can pick up the pace, that may be what ultimately harms him.

To read the interview and profile of Adam Carroll,  click here.

To find out more about RON, click here.

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